Equip managers to manage change

A report from Henley Business School highlights need to develop middle managers’ leadership skills and ability to manage change.

by Liz Hall

Developing middle managers’ leadership skills along with their ability to manage change are among the top learning & development priorities for organisations in 2010, according to Henley Business School’s Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2010.

This year will see a significant focus on leadership development – particularly at middle management level, according to respondents. Some 67% of respondents highlight the importance of developing middle managers and the same percentage chose ‘managing change’ as a specific development priority for managers.

Meanwhile, 61% said developing a coaching culture was one of their top five priorities- although only 9% made it number one.

“Softer skills; in leadership styles and in coaching for instance, that bring out the very best in people and facilitate team working have also been a priority,” said Linda Irwin, executive director, corporate development for Henley Business School.

She said both the research, and conversations she has with organisations, show many are planning for the long-term, adopting “a pragmatic, level-headed, measured approach when faced with the tumultuous economic climate we have endured.”

There will also be a focus on high-potentials as they grow and develop to lead their businesses into an uncertain future. The importance of succession planning and attracting new talent are key priorities for 2010, both rising in importance from 2009.

More than half- 53% – stated sustainability is a learning and development (L&D) priority, but 68% ranked it only three to five in their top five priorities. Some 119 people responded to the survey- more than 60% of whom were HR directors, vice-presidents or heads of HR or learning & development in some of the UK’s largest employers.

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